NFL Draft 2022: Updated Selection Order and Top Prospects Post-Super Bowl
Plenty happened Sunday during Super Bowl LVI, including an epic halftime show, an MVP win for Cooper Kupp, a boatload of sacks of Joe Burrow and a legacy lift for Matthew Stafford.
Oh, and the 2022 NFL draft order was locked in place.
That doesn't seem like a big deal in the afterglow of the Los Angeles Rams' triumph, but the stars of future Super Bowls are present members of this draft class.
After laying out the updated first-rounder order, we will examine two questions concerning the top prospects in this class.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars
2. Detroit Lions
3. Houston Texans
4. New York Jets
5. New York Giants
6. Carolina Panthers
7. New York Giants (via CHI)
8. Atlanta Falcons
9. Denver Broncos
10. New York Jets (via SEA)
11. Washington Commanders
12. Minnesota Vikings
13. Cleveland Browns
14. Baltimore Ravens
15. Philadelphia Eagles (via MIA)
16. Philadelphia Eagles (via IND)
17. Los Angeles Chargers
18. New Orleans Saints
19. Philadelphia Eagles
20. Pittsburgh Steelers
21. New England Patriots
22. Las Vegas Raiders
23. Arizona Cardinals
24. Dallas Cowboys
25. Buffalo Bills
26. Tennessee Titans
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
28. Green Bay Packers
29. Miami Dolphins (via SF)
30. Kansas City Chiefs
31. Cincinnati Bengals
32. Detroit Lions (via LAR)
Who Goes No. 1?
Since this draft lacks a top-shelf quarterback prospect in position to go No. 1, teams with early selections will focus on the next best thing: defensive lineman who can make quarterbacks miserable or offensive lineman who can keep them upright.
Anyone who watched the Super Bowl saw those positions' importance. The Cincinnati Bengals were the more efficient offensive team in almost every respect, but they couldn't keep the Rams pass-rushers away from quarterback Joe Burrow. If you wanted to pick a single key statistic to explain the outcome of L.A.'s 23-20 win, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better one than its 7-2 advantage in quarterback sacks.
That result is too fresh to shape the top of this draft board, but it does help explain the positions prioritized at the top.
The first few picks will be edge-rushers and offensive tackles. For the former, Michigan's Aidan Hutchinson and Oregon's Kayvon Thibodeaux figure to fight for top billing at their position. With the latter, it's Alabama's Evan Neal and everyone else.
Maybe things change between now and the late-April talent grab, but it seems like one of these players is going No. 1, and it's possible the others round out the first three picks.
Which Quarterback Gets Drafted First?
This quarterback crop is the ultimate eye-of-the-beholder class.
There's talent in it; it's just not clear how great that talent can be and which quarterback is the likeliest to unleash it.
Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett might be the most common quarterback mocked atop the position group, thanks in no small part to his statistical eruption this past season. After finishing each of the previous two campaigns with exactly 13 passing touchdowns and nine interceptions, he exploded for 42 passing scores and just seven picks in 2021.
Liberty's Malik Willis might have the highest ceiling, at least from a dual-threat variety. After transferring from Auburn, his numbers took off at an incredible rate. Over his two seasons with the Flames, Willis threw for 5,117 yards with 47 touchdowns, while rushing for another 1,822 yards and 27 scores.
It seems more likely than not that these two will set the quarterback market at the draft, but they aren't the only possibilities. Teams could still fall in love with Ole Miss' Matt Corral, North Carolina's Sam Howell and Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder too.